The following is a list of names, courtesy of Rap Rehab’s petition against the music industry, are the people who are currently in charge of the mainstream recording industry:
Why does it matter who these people are? The people who control the largest media companies are all white males. They own at least 95% of the mainstream media networks. The content you see on the magic box are all owned by a handful of wealthy white men. So, what you see is from the perspectives of sheltered white males.
As you can see from the list, the recording industry’s movers and shakers are a tad bit more diverse. Yet, most of the people on this list are white and male.
Does it matter who controls the entertainment and news media? Unfortunately, yes. In a racist, sexist, classist, homophobic society such as the US those issues are still present not only in real life, but newsrooms and recording studios. Ideas for news shows and movies and certain songs may see the light of day. It all depends on who decides what gets shown to the public.
Some stuff that filters through the process will entertain certain audiences while offending others. Is it due to the fact that most of the people behind it are white and male? Part of it. However, there are diverse producers and directors who will cater to the wants of white audiences while leaving maginalized people hanging or insulted.
Music is by no means an exception. For instance, most of today’s music by black artists, especially rappers, are virtually the same glorifying the ills that destroy society, the black community in particular. Most videos feature rappers almost completely tattooed, wearing bling surrounded by mostly light-skin black women and nonblack women booty shaking and showing lots of skin. Most songs only cover how much stuff they (supposedly) own, how many women they have or will fuck and how much crime they (again, supposedly) have committed or will commit all while portraying themselves as ‘hood’ or ‘gangsta’. And this is what you will hear and see 90% of the time.
Even if it has some influence on the youth, it doesn’t matter. “It’s the parent’s responsibility to monitor what they’re listen to or looking at,” or so the cop out goes. Here’s the deal, there are parents who do their part, but not all young people have responsible adults in their lives. Hell, some hardly have any guidance. Period. How many of these music industry folks have children of their own, and how many of them take care of them and follow their own damn advice?
Is some of what you see and hear an illusion? Yes. Some of ‘artists’ are not – as it’s constantly excused – keeping it real. It is all smoke and mirrors as they don’t have any of that shit. Is it racial stereotyping black men? Of course. But none of that matters to the rappers, their audiences, the music execs, the people behind the scenes in charge of beats, videos, etc. and the stock holders invested in the company. Money talks and bullshit walks.
There needs to be a balance, something for all people. Mainstream rap mostly caters to young white, suburban audiences. Let’s be honest. It’s almost like a modern day minstrel show in that regard, becoming stereotypes for the entertainment of for white people. Of course, the usual excuse as to the lack of balance is because anything else won’t sell. It’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.
Is it the reason why mainstream rap and the music industry in general is failing. That’s part of it, but there are other factors. Nevertheless, I – for one – got tired of the same old stuff, especially if it has nothing to see or say that hasn’t been new. It’s like reading the same book over and over again. People are starting to get sick of mainstream music as well. At the end of the day, the industry only has itself to blame for only obsessing with certain images, including the racist and sexist ones.